The Consumer Society Research Centre at the University of Helsinki (UH) is a newly merged research unit in the Faculty of Social Sciences. The University of Helsinki is the oldest and largest university in Finland, with 36,000 degree students and 8,400 staff members. The Consumer Society Research Centre is a unit of 20 research and teaching staff, with a focus on research but also contributing to Master’s and PhD education in the Faculty of Social Sciences as well as in cross-faculty programmes and courses.
The Consumer Society Research Centre at UH uses and analyses participatory methods, conducts action research, and supports the development of innovations by means of research, with a strong focus on sustainability and energy. The Consumer Society Research Centre has extensive experience in analysing the public acceptance and social consequences of sustainability innovations, and it is a leading Finnish institute in the development of public engagement in science and technology. Everyday practices, digitalization and energy are key areas of research; recent projects have focused on digital self-tracking technologies, the smart grid, smart metering, smart energy transitions and the changing relations between energy providers and consumers in this transition.
We have a long track record in social science research on energy. Our special focus is to go beyond methodological individualism to investigate energy practices in their social context. We are also interested in local experimentation with novel solutions and its potential for wider change processes. In ENERGISE, we are in charge of WP3, which investigates which kinds of interventions might work widely within Europe, and develops a design for testing, evaluating and refining them.